Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sigourney Weaver in complex movie on Autism Spectrum Disorder

`Snow Cake' Features Rickman, Weaver in Complex Movie on Autism (The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Bloomberg.)By Catherine Hickley
Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Fatal car crashes and autism failed to stifle the feel-good factor of ``Snow Cake,'' which opened the Berlin Film festival yesterday with Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver in the leading roles.
Directed by Welshman Marc Evans from a script by Angela Pell, a British writer with an autistic son, ``Snow Cake'' explores the intense frustrations and rewards experienced by those who care for a unique and appealing autistic woman.
Englishman Alex Hughes, played with sad, still reserve by Rickman, reluctantly agrees to take an insistent young woman to Winnipeg after she accosts him at a roadside cafe. A truck crashes into the car, killing her. Alex escapes almost without a mark. Overwhelmed by guilt, he goes to find her mother, the autistic Linda (Weaver).
The drama unfolds in the snowy, Northern Ontario backwater of Wawa, through the bond that develops between Alex and Linda. We gradually learn about the crucial role her daughter played in Linda's life. Alex starts a love affair with Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss), a neighbor, and the ice inside him begins to thaw.
Weaver's aloofness makes her perfect for the prickly and sometimes infuriating Linda, a woman who likes eating snow and playing with sparkly toys and trampolines. She also barks at her neighbors and has screaming fits when someone enters her kitchen.
Rickman's Journey
The film is primarily about Alex's journey from guilt-ridden trauma to humanity and warmth, helped by two women he meets on the way. Though Rickman told a Berlin press conference that ``acting has never been so easy for me,'' he's credible and even humorous.
The film's flaw is that it gives him an implausible past: We find out early on that he killed a man, served time in jail and lost a son in a fatal car crash. The way those events are linked, revealed toward the end of the film, stretches credulity even further, without adding to the drama.
``Snow Cake'' is in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. If it's a harbinger of things to come over the next 10 days, the festival should be a real treat.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Catherine Hickley in Berlin at
Last Updated: February 10, 2006 04:18 EST